On November 24, 1962, the United States ushered in a new era of aircraft development when the Department of Defense placed an initial development contract for the world's first supersonic variable-sweep aircraft - the F-111 or so-called TFX (tactical fighter-experimental). The multimission performance potential of this concept is made possible by virtue of the variable-sweep wing - a research development of the NASA and its predecessor, the NACA. With the wing swept forward into the maximum span position, the aircraft configuration is ideal for efficient subsonic flight. This provides long-range combat and ferry mission capability, short-field landing and take-off characteristics, and compatibility with naval aircraft carrier operation. With the wing swept back to about 650 of sweep, the aircraft has optimum supersonic performance to accomplish high-altitude supersonic bombing or interceptor missions. With the wing folded still further back, the aircraft provides low drag and low gust loads during supersonic flight "on the deck" (altitudes under 1000 feet). The concept of wing variable sweep, of course, is not new. Initial studies were conducted at Langley as early as 1945, and two subsonic variable-sweep prototypes (Bell X-5 and Grumman XF-IOF) were flown as early as 1951/52. These were subsonic aircraft, however, and the great advantage of variable sweep in improving supersonic flight efficiency could not be realized. Further~ the structures of these early aircraft were complicated by the necessity for translating the ~ing fore and aft to achieve satisfactory longitUdinal stability as the wing sweep was varied. Late in 1958 a research breakthrough at Langley provided the technology for designing a variable-sweep wing having satisfactory stability through a wide sweep angle range without the necessity for fore and aft translation of the wing. In this same period there evolved within the military services an urgent requirement for a versatile fighter-bomber that could fly efficiently at subsonic and supersonic speeds at high altitude and "on the deck". The application of variable sweep to this mission requirement then became obvious.